Recent Legislative Victories
DEFEATED: Baltimore City $15 Minimum Wage
On August 15, 2016 the Baltimore City Council failed to collect the necessary votes to pass a $15 Minimum Wage Bill in Baltimore City. The bill would have incrementally raised Baltimore City’s minimum wage to $15/hour (currently $8.75) by 2022 and increased the tip wage to $5/hour (currently $3.63) by 2020. RAM and its members worked vigorously with city council members to educate them about the restaurant industry and to explain that the bill would actually have hurt those it was intended to help. The bill will likely return in the Fall of 2016.
DEFEATED: State-Wide Minimum Wage Increase
This bill would have accelerated the minimum wage increase already in effect in Maryland. Rather than staggering the increase to $10.10 per hour by 2018, this bill would have raised the minimum wage up to $10.10 an hour in 2016. The minimum wage would then rise again to $15.00 per hour by 2020. This bill would have also repealed Maryland's tip credit and indexed future minimum wage increases to inflation. Large increases in the minimum wage lead to laying off employees, reducing work hours and price increases. The employees who this legislation is meant to help will be the group that is hurt the most.
DEFEATED: Paid Sick Leave Requirement
This bill would have required employers to allow full-time and part-time to accrue sick and safe leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. This arrangement doesn't work for restaurants the same way it works for offices like an accounting firm, for example. A restaurant business would need to bring in replacement workers for employees who use accrued paid leave, which significantly increases labor costs. Most restaurants have flexible scheduling policies that allow employees to pick up extra shifts to make up for lost hours during the pay period when sick or for other personal reasons.
DEFEATED: Restrictive Scheduling Penalty
This bill would have required employers to schedule all employees 21 days in advance or pay a penalty for any changes made after that date, unless all affected employees agreed to the schedule change in writing. Foodservice employers need the flexibility to adjust staffing needs according to the constantly fluctuating consumer demand, so this bill would have made scheduling cooks, servers and management untenable. Additional hours would also have had to be offered to current employees before hiring new staff, which had the potential to create HR compliance issues.